Patients deserve the right to be educated about all options available which are relevant to their medical care. However, according to a new study, many Medicare patients are not receiving information on all the alternatives to surgery, when surgery is recommended for a particular condition.
The study, which was recently published in the Journal of General Internal Medicine, surveyed 685 patients who had prostate-cancer surgery and 472 patients who had stent surgery for coronary disease about their decision-making process and how informed they were about their available treatment options.
The study's researchers state that good decision making requires an understanding of all the options available, weighing the pros and cons of all procedures and discussing the options with healthcare professionals.
The decision-making process varied greatly between prostate-cancer surgery patients and coronary disease patients. The study found that only 10 percent of coronary disease patients who received stents discussed alternative treatments with their doctor while 64 percent of prostate surgery patients discussed alternative treatments.
In addition to discussing all treatment options, it is also important for patients to understand the medical risks associated with each procedure. The study found that only 19 percent of coronary disease patients who received stents discussed the cons of the procedure with their healthcare providers compared to 63 percent of prostate-surgery patients.
The final component of good decision making is considering which option the patient prefers. The study found that only 16 percent of stent recipients for coronary disease were asked their opinion about having the procedure. As with the other results, 76 percent of prostate-surgery patients were asked what they thought before deciding on a procedure.
The study's findings indicate that many patients are not well-informed before they consent for certain surgical procedures. Without being advised on alternative treatments, patients are unable to make informed decisions regarding their health.
If you or a loved one has been injured during surgery and believe that you may not have been properly informed about alternatives, please contact an experienced personal injury attorney today to explore your options.